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Ashok & Shukla differ on pitch

Calcutta: Ashok Malhotra and Laxmi Ratan Shukla, the Bengal coach and captain, respectively, differed on their views about the Eden pitch which will be used for the Ranji Trophy tie against Uttar Pradesh, but sounded similarly positive about the team’s prospects in the match.

The 22-yard strip chosen for the game resembled a green top on Friday. While Bengal hope their pacers will use it to their advantage, fact is that the rivals too have an impressive bowling line-up. Is it a gamble then? A desperate attempt by a team who have to win this match?

“Yes, playing on a green top in this match is a gamble… But we have to take this gamble. We are not fighting to save relegation so we have to go all out to try and win the game. There isn’t any other option. The toss will be vital,” Malhotra said.

Shukla had a very different take on the subject. “No, it’s not a gamble if you ask me… We have played on such surfaces before, so we should be able to handle it. And I don’t think toss will play a crucial role,” the captain said.

Senior Uttar Pradesh batsman Mohammed Kaif sees the green top as a challenge. “It’s good that it’s a sporting wicket. It’s a challenge for both the batsmen and the bowlers. Also, such pitches produce results… It’s always better to have results than draws,” the former India player said.